Separation from StudioCanal has not dented the ability of Wild Bunch to pack a punch on the Croisette: not only does Vincent Maraval's French sales house boast a trio of films in competition, it also part-financing Olivier Assayas' reunion with his ex-wife Maggie Chung.
Assayas, who last year had Demonlover in competition in Cannes, is to make Clean, a 1980s set story about a fight for custody. "A simple and moving story," according to Maraval, it follows a junkie whose partner dies and who loses control of her children to his parents. Set in North America, Europe and Australia much of the dialogue will be in English.
"Everyone wondered whether we would be able to get access to the same films or whether we'd be able to put up the same amounts of investment without the StudioCanal connection," said Maraval.
"In fact, our Cannes line-up shows that we are involved in exactly the same kind of pictures and discovering the same kind of talent. And we have financed two [At Five In The Afternoon and Purple Butterfly] of the three competition films we are handling." In total the firm has eight films spread across the four sections of the festival.
As part of the down-sizing of Canal Plus and StudioCanal, it went independent under a new holding company, Exception, headed by former StudioCanal France boss Brahim Chioua. "The first phase of Exception's development is now behind us. We have relations with Mars Film for French release of many of our titles and have a deal with Wild Side for video," said Maraval.